Celebrating the five senses of horticulture, June 5-9
The RHS’s newest show, sponsored by Wedgwood, returns to Derbyshire’s Chatsworth Estate with the theme of the five senses of horticulture – taste and smell of herbs, plants and flowers, touch of natural textures, sight of summer colours and the sound of bees and grasses.
The important role of trees will be explored in the Power of Trees feature, with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and Forestry Commission encouraging people to plant them to help battle climate change. There’ll be a tree nursery, storytelling, woodland crafts, carving, arborist talks and even tree listening.
A Virtual Reality experience will allow visitors to experience trees from the trunk to the treetop.
Other highlights include a show garden inspired by one of the RHS founders, John Wedgwood in The Wedgwood Garden by horticulturalist and RHS Ambassador Jamie Butterworth.
The Brewin Dolphin Artists’ Garden, designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes will showcase the skills of UK artists, including textile art, Japanese porcelain and basket weaving.
Finding peace through gardening will also be brought to the fore through five new Mindfulness Gardens that champion wellbeing and mental health.
Liz Patterson, RHS Chatsworth Flower Show manager, said: “Being the RHS’ newest show, we’re building on the success of the last two years and are really pleased to announce that our Long Borders competition has nearly doubled in entries, we can’t wait to see these popular displays this year.
“Our Floral Marquee will be bursting with 80 growers and nurseries including RHS Chatsworth’s Master Grower Pennard Plants.”We also have a fantastic line up of experts in the Potting Bench and Dig In theatres.”
The RHS Garden for Wildlife: Wild Woven
The garden, designed by Sharon Hockenhull, will demonstrate how the UK’s 24 million gardens can be transformed into a network of nature reserves.
A small pond with marginal planting shelves, sloping pebble bank, nooks and crannies within rocks will provide one of the most important environments.
Trees, hedges, nectar-rich flowers, a wildflower meadow, sedum roof and areas of long grass to help attract a diverse range of creatures. Simple add-ons include bug houses, bird boxes, baths, feeders and a compost heap.
A copse of taller trees, including Sorbus and birches will create some shade. Hedging of hawthorn, beech, yew and escallonia, will surround the boundary at different heights.
Many plants have been chosen for their rich nectar to attract bees, butterflies and other insects – see my pick of plants for pollinators here.
Sharon’s wildlife-friendly tips
1. Plant pollen and nectar-rich plants with a long flowering season like Salvia nemorosa Caradonna, Erysimum Bowles Mauve and Echinacea purpurea.
2. Replace some of your lawn with wildflower seed.
3. Introduce a sunken water bowl or a small pond with marginal plants.
4. Log piles attract insects, invertebrates, moss and fungi.
5. Mixed hedging offers a habitat for birds, especially hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, bird cherry, yew, beech and hornbeam. Also try the evergreen escallonias.
6. Another option for lawns is to leave areas to grow long.
7. If you have space for a tree, go for one that will provide food for birds and attract insects. Birch, holly, rowan, hawthorn and crab apple are suitable.
8. Adding bird feeders, nesting boxes, bee houses and insect hotels is an easy way to attract wildlife.
9. A compost heap is a must in the wildlife garden, as you will be creating a habitat for a range of invertebrates.
10. Leave the big garden tidy up till early spring to safeguard overwintering beneficial insects.
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS set up Wild About Gardens to celebrate wildlife gardening and to encourage people to act for nature, visit www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk.
Festival tips from florists
Summer festival season is upon us and event designer Ruthie Ford and florist Emma McGeehan are taking part in the Floral Immersion feature at the show. They’ve come up with their favourite flowers for creating festival floral crowns:
- Chrysanthemums: Colourful, lightweight and long-lasting.
- Sunflowers: Big, bold and fun.
- Gypsophila: Fluffy and light, they dry well too.
- Orchids: For that tropical party vibe, they withstand the heat and come in a rainbow of colours.
- Echeverias: Wear in your hair with the roots intact, then pop back in the garden after the festival.
- Lavender and rosemary: Pretty, long-lasting with added perfume.
- Helichrysum: The ‘Everlasting Flower’ and available in a kaleidoscope of colours.
- Carnations: Scented, pretty and hard-wearing.
- Delphiniums: One stem has many flowers so just one can make an inexpensive full flower crown.
- Pampas grass: For a Californian boho look that dries well.
Six displays will frame a walkway in which visitors will be transported into a world of colour, texture, movement, sound and scent.
Crowning Glory by Ruthie Ford and Emma McGeehan: Suspended from the centre of each arch will be three huge sculptural floral headpieces, allowing visitors to ‘wear’ the displays.
Floating down the stream by Alison Hayes: An archway of tree branches and flowers creates three levels of a ‘forest’ of flowers.
The Immersive Spiral Meadow by Helen Chambers: inspired by the Fibonacci Spiral form and viewed as a 360-degree installation, visitors will gaze up to flowers and grasses as if lying in the meadow.
A Mindful Space by Paula Routledge and Jade Loftus: Three large hanging frames, interspersed with kokedama, that interpret the themes of relaxation, rejuvenation and invigoration.
Floral Notes by Guy Petheram and Dr Rachel Petheram: Celebrates the power of fragrance within an enclosed space of flowers and foliage, taking inspiration from seasonal British flowers.
Blue John Floral Cavern by Tracey Campbell: Inspired by the local Blue John Cavern. Visitors will enter the ‘cavern’ through a 2.5m Moon Gate and will be met by floral stalagmites and stalactites.
RHS Chatsworth show information
- Venue: Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP.
- Dates: June 5: RHS members only; June 6-9: RHS members and non-members.
Times: 5 – 8 June 5-8: 10am-6.30pm, June 9: 10am-5pm.
- Tickets: To book tickets call 0844 995 9664* or visit www.rhs.org.uk/chatsworth. Ticket prices range from £27.50 to £36.50. *Calls cost 7p per minute plus phone company’s access charge.